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Wayfinder Advisors

Don Shalvey

CEO of San Joaquin A+
Don Shalvey

Don Shalvey is the CEO of San Joaquin A+. He has spent the past 50 years in public education, where he is widely recognized as a leader in public school reform and the charter school movement. From 2009 to 2020, Don served as a Deputy Director for K-12 Education at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he oversaw charter schools, teacher preparation, and school and system leadership. During this period, he supported and developed 37 Program Officers and administered grants in excess of 800 million dollars. 

In 1992, Don served as Superintendent of the San Carlos School District, where he sponsored the first charter school in California. The San Carlos Charter Learning Center became a California Distinguished School and has since served as a model for many other charter schools. In 1998, Don and entrepreneur Reed Hastings co-founded Californians for Public School Excellence, a grassroots organization that led to the passage of the Charter Schools Act of 1998, which lifted the cap on the number of charter schools in the state. That same year, Don founded Aspire Public Schools, where he served as CEO until 2009. 

Dr. Shalvey is a frequent advisor to policy makers, practitioners and authorizers of charter schools across the nation. In 2002, the prestigious Ashoka Foundation recognized Don as a Fellow for his outstanding work as a social entrepreneur. More recently, Don was given the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award for advancing the quality of life for Californians, and in June 2009, he was elected to the Charter School Hall of Fame. From introducing President Clinton in 2007 to serving as a critical connector as described in the book The Founders, Don brings a half-century of experience to the boards on which he serves and to his role as a Regent at the University of the Pacific, the oldest chartered university in California. 

Don earned a Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership & Administration from the University of Southern California, a Master of Education in Counseling and Guidance from Gonzaga University, and a B.A. from LaSalle College. 

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